|The four connecting back yards|
We live in one of those developments that some call a house farm. A location where bulldozers plow down all the trees, level everything, and then build a bunch of houses. Except that this being the high prairie, there weren't any trees there to begin with.
There's several things that stink about this sort of development - in theory I'm opposed to them. I think people should like in quaint, organic, naturally occurring neighborhoods. For heavens sake, we have walls made of drywall instead of good solid plaster ! Um, except that this development is sort of awesome. Our house has a solid foundation - five days of solid rains a few weeks ago and the basement was bone dry. All the doors and windows are still relatively plumb, and all the windows still open ! Also, there is a garbage disposal and attached garage. Both things we never had in our quaint houses.
One of the aspects of our particular neighborhood (and most neighborhoods built within the past 20 years in the Denver area) is that the yards are small, in large part because water is terribly scarce and expensive and nobody should be paying to water large lawns. But the upside is that the houses are set relatively close together and close to the street which makes it easy to be neighborly.
The three houses that share a border with our backyard all have children in elementary school. After school and on a Saturday afternoon, they run back and forth playing in each other's yards. They scramble easily over the fences and I make a mental note almost every day to look for plastic stools at the thrift store to make that easier to scramble over. They are supposed to tell us when they go in someone's house, but if they don't another kid generally knows where they are.
Two of the houses have nice attractions in their backyard: one has a trampoline and the other a playset. The northeast corner of our backyard gets shady about 3:30pm in the summers which makes it a lovely place to play and I'd like to add a play structure of something of that sort to the corner. We'll have to have a small retaining wall built and then we'll have to add mulch underneath but I'm not sure what to get and I'd love your suggestions. Since the girls love gymnastics so much, I'd love a chin-up/pull-up bar of sorts where they could practice pullovers. I don't think I could find a balance beam, but some sort of something where they could practice balancing and walking would be nice too.
Any ideas ?